Cancer prevention: how to best anticipate the risk?

Cancer prevention: how to best anticipate the risk?

Cancer is a disease whose incidence has risen sharply in recent decades, but there are solutions and preventive measures that could slow its course and save several hundred thousand lives each year.

Read time: 10 minutes

Summary : 

Cancer and environment
Cancer and family history
Preventing cancer
Be informed to take better action against cancer

The numbers can be frightening, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world and causes about 10 million deaths per year.

Nearly one out of six deaths worldwide is due to cancer (¹).

However it is possible to fight against it. In 2009, the WHO estimated that 30% of cancers in the world could be avoided and this reaches 40% of cancers in France by changing certain daily behaviors!

The fight against cancer can start at any time at the individual level by adopting good habits. This world cancer day, as well as the awareness campaigns, aim to provide cancer prevention tools for everyone.

Cancer and environment

One of the reasons to avoid cancer is to better understand our exposure throughout life (Exposome) to our immediate environment. Indeed, for many cancers, environmental hazards are highly correlated with their occurrences.

The main environmental factors impacting health

Tobacco, exposure to pollutants, alcohol, diet, obesity, overweight, sun exposure, lack of physical activity, radiation…

Acting on these factors reduces the risk of developing this disease.

Cancer prevention through consideration of the exposome 


of the world’s population is now dying from chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular and cancer. These diseases are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors (physical, chemical, biological, social, psychosocial and aesthetic factors). WHO

The exposome study shows that exposure to certain environmental factors such as tobacco, UV, fine particles… are associated with an increased risk of cancer. It is possible to reduce the risk of cancer by 40% by minimizing exposure to risk factors. To achieve a drastic reduction of cancers all stakeholders are concerned. Indeed, the individual can act on his behavior but this will be greatly facilitated if public policies are organized in this direction, for example by lowering the thresholds of pollutants allowed in the air, food, containers …

Cities mobilized against cancer:

Cities can act to reduce the risks (alerts in case of pollution, arrangements encouraging outings in parks, sports, reducing pollution by banning certain vehicles…).

Companies mobilized against cancer:

Companies, for their part, can act to reduce the risk of cancer among their employees (measures and decreases in indoor pollution (CO2 CO2 affects the health of employees for example), promote active breaks to break the sedentary lifestyle, offer healthy snacks …).

Insurance companies and mutuals mobilized against cancer:

Mutual insurance companies are also concerned because they can inform and advise on preventive actions to be taken to reduce the risk (regular airing of the home…).

Cancer and family history

It is sometimes easy to balk at a change in behaviour, especially when faced with the example of a smoker whose non-smoker fellow-smoker develops lung cancer! This case illustrates several facts:

  • the first is that cancer is multifactorial, there is no single cause that involves its development.
  • the second is that there are genetic predispositions that make one individual more likely to develop cancer than another.
  • The last fact specific to this case is that the non-smoking congener is a passive smoker which is also a risk factor for the occurrence of lung cancer!

In a more general case, it is important to remember that it is not because we are genetically predisposed that we should not act; on the contrary, it is by taking control of our health by limiting exposure to risk factors that the occurrence of cancer can be avoided.

Cancer prevention, some resolutions 

In the workplace :

Reminders on the importance of airing for 10 minutes a day in winter and summer

Opening the windows allows to renew the indoor air and to reduce the concentration of pollutants in the house. Approximately 1.5% of annual lung cancer deaths are due to exposure to carcinogens in indoor air.

In the workplace :

Encourage employees to take the stairs instead of the elevator

Daily physical activity is important to prevent many chronic diseases as well as at least 4 types of cancers: colon cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer and lung cancer. Physical activity helps to maintain a healthy weight which is also a factor in the prevention of cancer risk.

In workplace:

Provide a healthy food choice or tools to eat well (app, tips, recipes…)

Approximately one third of cancers could be prevented by modifying diet, increasing physical activity and maintaining an optimal weight. Eating a well-balanced home-cooked meal (low in ultra-processing) containing vegetables, little salt and fat and no cold cuts reduces the risk of cancers.

In the city:

Preventing during pollution peaks and giving appropriate advice

There is an association between long-term exposure to urban airborne particles and an increased risk of lung cancer. To avoid exposure to particulate matter, it is advisable to stay away from major traffic routes, especially during rush hour.

In the city:

Warn about hight UV index and give appropriate advice

More than 80% of skin cancers are related to excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun, adequate protection (sunscreen, long clothing) and appropriate hours of outings reduce the risk.

Insurance :

Inform and encourage about non-alcoholic beverage intake

6 types of cancers are concerned with more than 15 000 deaths per year due to alcohol. Limiting alcohol consumption is essential.

As citizen :

Limit or even stop your tobacco consumption

Smoking is responsible for nearly 90% of lung cancers. What is less known is that smoking is the direct cause or a contributing factor to 17 other cancers!

  • Be informed in order to act better:

From prevention to screening to treatment, information plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of cancer. The ARC Foundation is a member of the International Union Against Cancer and offers many brochures specifically on how to prevent cancer and how to live better during and after cancer.

Meersens also helps you to prevent risks and the risk of developing cancer. Whether you are a company wishing to act for its employees, a city for its citizens, Meersens can help you!

Share this article 👇

Meersens analyse your quality of your environment

Meersens is a positive impact environmental health company, mobilized to create a sustainable future, enabling environmental risk mitigation and positively contributing to the health and well-being of stakeholders – by providing customized environmental monitoring and prevention.

Meersens provides 360°, real-time, historical and predictive multi-pollutant monitoring and insight for any location with high accuracy, enabling you to mitigate risks and make better decisions.

Solution Meersens - Santé environnementale

Meersens est une entreprise à impact positif dans le domaine de la santé environnementale, mobilisée pour créer un avenir durable, permettant d’atténuer les risques environnementaux et de contribuer positivement à la santé et au bien-être des parties prenantes – en offrant une surveillance et une prévention environnementales personnalisées.

Meersens offre une vision et une surveillance multi-polluants à 360°, en temps réel, historique et prédictive, pour n’importe quel lieu, avec une grande précision, vous permettant d’atténuer les risques et de prendre de meilleures décisions.

Lectures complémentaires


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *